Sugary cola drinks increase gestational diabetes risk

Researchers have found that drinking more than 5 servings of sugar sweetened cola a week prior to pregnancy appears to significantly elevate the risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), defined as glucose intolerance beginning during pregnancy, is one of the most common pregnancy complications. Women with GDM are at increased risk for complications and illness during pregnancy and delivery, as well as post-pregnancy type 2 diabetes. Children of mothers with GDM are at increased risk for obesity, glucose intolerance, and early onset diabetes.

The research team studied a group of 13,475 women from the Nurses’ Health Study II. During 10 years of follow-up, 860 incident GDM cases were identified.

“Compared with women who consumed less than 1 serving per month, those who consumed more than 5 servings per week of sugar-sweetened cola had a 22% greater GDM risk,” notes Dr. Chen.

Although the underlying mechanism remains unclear, available evidence suggests that the main defect in the development of GDM is relatively diminished insulin secretion coupled with pregnancy-induced insulin resistance. The researchers discuss a number of explanations of their findings.

“We don’t know why significant association was only found in sugar-sweetened cola, but not other types of sugar-sweetened beverages ? fruit drinks, other soft drinks, etc.,” says Dr. Chen. “One of the explanations could be the tremendous popularity of cola in the US.”

Liwei Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Public Health, is the lead author of the paper, A Prospective Study of Pre-Gravid Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption and the Risk of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus, that will be published in the December 2009 issue of Diabetes Care.

Source: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, USA



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